Is Short Term Travel Permitted For A Lawful Permanent Resident?
Lawful permanent residents are usually free to come and go as they like. Any stay outside of the U.S. that is six months or less usually does not pose a problem. The returning permanent resident should always be clear that the U.S. is their permanent home, and that any travel abroad is temporary. In addition, all permanent residents should continue to file a U.S. tax return every year as a U.S. tax resident. Filing as a non-resident would be likely to jeopardize the person’s permanent resident status. Also, trips that last more than six months may bring the lawful permanent resident status into question, and it is possible that the officer may conclude that the person has abandoned that status. Trips of a year or more normally result in the lawful permanent residence status being deemed abandoned by operation of law.
However, no matter how long a permanent resident has been abroad, they have the right to ask to meet with an immigration judge to have their case and status reviewed upon returning to the U.S. Lawful permanent residents seeking to protect that status should never voluntarily sign a Form I-407, which has the effect of abandoning that status.
Are Travel Restrictions for Lawful Permanent Residents the Same as Those That Apply to Maintaining Naturalization Eligibility?
The rules are not the same. Regarding naturalization, there are three different ways that physical presence is tested. First, the naturalization applicant must reside for at least 90 days in the district where they will apply. Second, the applicant must have spent at least half of their time here within the requisite period, which is usually five years, or three years if they are married to a U.S. citizen. The last way that physical presence is tested is called “Continuity of Residence for Naturalization Purposes,” which is a whole separate test. Even if a person has lived here in the district for 90 days and has spent at least half of their time here, the immigration service will confirm that the applicant has not had any trips outside of the U.S. that lasted more than six months. If they have, then it is presumed that they have interrupted their continuous residence here for naturalization purposes. The applicant may be able to continue to maintain permanent residence status but may have to wait longer to apply for naturalization. This presumption can be rebutted depending upon the reason for being abroad, and the extent to which they were still maintaining ties here.
If the trip abroad was a year or more, then the continuity of residence has been broken for naturalization purposes and they will not be able to apply until they wait at least four years and one day from the time that they have re-established their residence here. If they are married to a U.S. citizen, they have to wait two years and one day from the time they have re-established their U.S. residence.
Additional Information About Consequences of International Travel During Immigration Processes
Oftentimes, persons who are not U.S. citizens do not consider the details and requirements that accompany travel. Part of the reason for this may simply be the state of the world and technology. It is so convenient and easy to get on a plane and be on the other side of the world in a day. But U.S. immigration rules are more complicated than they should be, and sometimes there are consequences to those travels that we always want people to think about BEFORE they travel to or from the U.S. Prior proper planning in advance will minimize their chances of having a problem later.
For more information on Travel For Lawful Permanent Resident, a consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (619) 234-8875 today.
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